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Galileo 7 and 8 Fitted to Dispenser in Preparation for Launch

March 18, 2015  - By
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Artist's view of Galileo satellites attached to their dispenser atop their Fregat upper stage separating from the Soyuz upper stage. The Fregat then flies them the rest of the way up to medium-Earth orbit.  (courtesy of ESA)

Artist’s view of Galileo satellites attached to their dispenser atop their Fregat upper stage separating from the Soyuz upper stage. The Fregat then flies them the rest of the way up to medium-Earth orbit. (courtesy of ESA)

News courtesy of the European Space Agency

The seventh and eighth Galileo satellites being fitted together onto the dispenser, March 16-17. (Photo courtesy of ESA)

The seventh and eighth Galileo satellites being fitted together onto the dispenser, March 16-17. (Photo courtesy of ESA)

The seventh and eighth Galileo satellites, set for launch together in nine days’ time, have been fitted together onto the dispenser that will carry them during their flight to orbit.

The fueling of the two satellites was completed last week, leaving them ready to be placed into launch configuration. They were carefully lowered into place then attached to the dispenser. The operation went smoothly, the two satellites having previously gone through separate “fit checks” with the dispenser in advance of fueling.

The specially designed carrier will hold the satellites in place during their four-hour flight into orbit some 22,300 km above our planet. Then, at the correct altitude, the two satellites are sprung away in opposing directions. Next, the dispenser plus satellites will be placed onto the Fregat upper stage of their Soyuz ST-B launcher.

As much a spacecraft as a launch stage, the reignitable Fregat will haul the Galileo satellites most of the way up to their final orbital altitude, once the first three stages of the Soyuz have taken them up to their initial orbit.

Fuel for the seventh and eighth Galileo satellites, checked by an engineer in a protective SCAPE (Self Contained Atmospheric Protective Ensemble). Fuelling of the two satellites took place at the end of the second week of March 2015, allowing the satellites to be fitted to their launch dispenser ahead of the March 27 launch. (Photo courtesy of ESA)

Fuel for the satellites is checked by an engineer in a protective SCAPE (Self Contained Atmospheric Protective Ensemble). (Photo courtesy of ESA)

Note the protective metal panels covering the solar wings folded against the sides of the Galileo satellites. Protecting these delicate solar arrays during handling on the ground, these panels will be removed ahead of launch.

The launch of the seventh and eighth Galileo satellites is scheduled for March 27.

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